Nope Movie Review: Jordan Peele’s Best Film Has All The Tricks

Review: Nope is not just Jordan Peele’s best movie – it’s his most unique, using a Western backdrop to lay the groundwork for a strange Sci-Fi blockbuster. Certainly one of the best films of 2022.

Nope Movie Review Jordan Peele Daniel Kaluuya Keke Palmer Horror Film
Nope

Few creatives demand an audience’s attention quite like Jordan Peele does. The famed director of Get Out and Us has built himself a reputation of being one of the medium’s most astute and polished visionaries with his society-defying, brain-melting antics. He’s one of the few cultural zeitgeists to pop up in the last decade that doesn’t have significant tie-ins to a superhero property – and it’s for all these reasons that I was dying to get my hands on Nope when it came out back in July of 2022.

Combined with trailers that were essentially toying with an audience’s expectations of significant plot details, Nope was basically a meteor hurdling towards Earth in a summer that felt absent of big-budget, blockbuster hits that are essential for the film industry. He also brought back the leading man of his breakthrough hit Get Out in Daniel Kaluuya – a performer who’s garnered a reputation for being one of the industry’s most precise and charismatic actors (quite simply, he’s one of the best). Peele newcomers Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and Brandon Perea round out a significantly accomplished cast.

So with expectations sky high, a cast of veteran actors and actresses, a nearly-blank check budget, and a crew of all-timers behind the camera (Hoyte van Hoytema as cinematographer is truly an epic combination of wits with Peele), could the acclaimed director deliver on the potential of a new classic with all the tools at his disposal? Could he continue to usher in the new, post-pandemic era of Hollywood that Top Gun: Maverick helped set up?

Unilaterally, yes. Quite honestly, Nope is one of the best films of the decade and certainly competes with Jordan Peele’s previous two works. As a raucous, crowd-pleasing sci-fi epic, it checks every box for a film attempting so much in its themes and grand gestures. An obvious ode to the best Steven Spielberg projects (hints of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and clearly inspired by the second half of Jaws), Nope blows away its contemporaries in terms of scale and scope.

Every shot oozes with detail. The haunting and dreadful images send chills down your spine and the comedy sticks in almost every instance. The terrifying set pieces, from Gordie’s birthday party to the bloody storm over Haywood ranch, are some of the best this year has had to offer.

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The film does have a meticulous and slow-building set-up – one that’s been a common complaint by critics who were less favorable towards the film. But Peele has built up enough equity with his audience to strain a bit for the reveal, and Nope has quite the reveal. The grab-at-your-chest unfurling (literally) of the third act is one I’ll never forget seeing for the first time in theaters, and it sure doesn’t lose its effectiveness after multiple viewings at home.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Nope will have enough steam heading into the awards season this year, and it’s a shame. Nope is a powerful genre-defying, tense thriller with a bit of splash for everyone. This generation’s closest thing to Jaws, it’s a powerful look at our obsession with viewing – viewing the good, viewing the bad, and viewing what we shouldn’t. Curiosity rules our generation, and Peele taps into it as well as anyone. Undoubtedly, it’ll be high in my year end list. A film that I was satisfied with as I left the theater, and one that I’ve consistently thought about since its release.

Nope delivers on its promise of spectacle. Its set-up helps deliver one of the most rewarding third acts of the year, and one I’ll surely return to in years to come. Those don’t come around very often, only a handful of films lend themselves to repeat viewings, and Nope is certainly one of them. A dazzling and hypnotic viewing, and one that doesn’t leave your mind once you leave your theater. The best films make you think, and Nope gives you enough to sink your teeth into.

Best New Movie

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Where to watch Nope: Amazon Prime Video, VOD

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Film Cast and Credits

Nope Review Jordan Peele Horror Film Movie Poster

Cast:

Daniel Kaluuya as OJ Haywood

Keke Palmer as Emerald Haywood

Brandon Perea as Angel Torres

Michael Wincott as Antlers Holst

Steven Yeun as Jupe

Crew:

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer: Jordan Peele

Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema

Editor: Nicholas Monsour

Composer: Michael Abels

Nope movie on Letterboxd

Nope movie on IMDb